Before coming to St. Lawrence, I viewed hockey as just another sport. I played hockey when I was younger, but I didn’t play long enough to make it to a competitive level. I was never that interested in going to see my high school sports teams play, except the tennis matches I was in myself. I am from a high school in Vermont that was pretty into hockey, but I had never been to one of their games simply because I wasn’t interested. I had heard St. Lawrence had an amazing hockey team, so I figured I had better go see for myself what all the excitement was about. I absolutely loved it.
I went to that first game with some of my new FYP friends, and I can honestly say none of us really knew what to expect. We arrived early, unsure of how crowded it would be, and sat in the middle of the student section. There weren’t too many people there, but we were already excited. As game time drew closer and closer, the stands started to fill up, and pretty soon my friends and I were sitting in the middle of a crowded student section charged with energy. The announcer got on the intercom and said, “Heeeeeere come the Saints!” and the whole arena erupted in cheers. The players got on the ice as loud music blared, energizing the players and crowd even more. The announcer presented the players in each team’s starting line-ups, with each of the Saints drawing large cheers. The national anthems for Canada and the United States were both sung with, to my surprise, large audience participation. Then it was time for the game to start.
I was blown away by the speed and skill of the players. Every few minutes the crowd would erupt in chants of “S-L-U!" *clap* "S-L-U!" *clap*” with each round louder than the last. When we scored the first goal, the audience broke out into thunderous applause and cheering as the players crashed into each other in a group hug. Shortly after the cheering had subsided, someone somewhere in the crowd yelled “ONE, TWO, THREE!” causing me to look around, confused. What was he counting to? That’s when the entire student section began singing “When the Saints Go Marching In” at the top of their lungs. I was caught off guard, as I was unaware of this tradition, but after my surprise had subsided, I joined in. There are several instances during my freshman year that made me feel like a genuine and real part of the St. Lawrence community. This was one of them.
I attended all but one of their hockey games my first year, and they won almost all of them. They were all fun and entertaining, and also provided a great break from my studies, there was one game that distinctly stands out in my mind. We were playing a best of three games matchup in the quarterfinals against our biggest hockey rivals: Clarkson. It was the second game of this series that was so intense and awesome to watch that I came out of the game with my hands shaking and my nerves shot. We had won the first game in the series and just needed to win one more to move on to the semifinals in Lake Placid. The game was intense, at the end of regulation, the score was tied 2-2, so they went into overtime. The stadium was packed with people all cheering at the top of their lungs for the teams. This was our chance to take out our biggest rival and we all wanted to see it happen. After the first overtime, there were still no goals so the second overtime began. Everyone in the student section was losing their voices, but that didn’t stop them from cheering.
Halfway into the second overtime, Gavin Bayreuther '17 scored a goal for the Saints. We had done it. We had won. The players all jumped on each other in a big group hug right in front of the student section, where students were jumping up and down screaming at the top of their lungs, expressing their love and support of our team. It was one of the most intense and memorable moments of my St. Lawrence career – and to think I wasn’t interested in hockey even just a few months prior. St. Lawrence and their hockey team won a fan for life that day – me.